tv Today in Washington CSPAN July 7, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EDT
real women i know don't bug them about their husbands. let them back in when they come knocking at the door. real women i know are in therapy and badly in love with our shrinks. happy to talk about the sad part, sat to talk about the happy parts. sick of going on medication. real women i know destroyed ourselves through work or television, starvation or people who refuse to treat us. we are persistent and yet we cannot refuse the invitation to continue on. real women i know work thousands of miles away from home, pack cardboard boxes full of soap, shampoo and candy to send home. real women i know are shorter,
button-down shirts. genitalia only one tiny part of the agenda puzzle when the world offers so much more. real women i know laugh in bed. post diagrams for our partners on how to give oral sex properly by the day. real women are not given up sex to find love or just now remembering how it feels to sleep in bed alone. real women i know are mothers, unexpectedly the babies come. and teach us to stand with two feet on the ground, arms stretched wide open ready for whatever arise. real women i know are driven into the ground to a truly never given rest, take on everybody else's problems. never allow ourselves to give up. everyone doing all right? [cheers and applause] >> is it all right if i do a couple more poems for you guys? this is a piece i wrote a long, long time ago.
we were thinking a lot about coming up on the 10th anniversary of september 11 so i wrote this piece for the rally in chicago long time ago. this piece is called by steny, the beginning of an american lifetime. i am no flower child. i do not drag my unshaven hair nor do i hold illusions about the wisdom of the east. i do not waive my fingers in a fee to be peace upon greetings. nor do i think the revolution a loan would be enough to save us. my family would be more likely mistaken for boat people. i do not know how the texture of bobby sox and poodle skirts change or eisler and to refocus on the blood of vietnam. kent state, malcolm x, mlk, jfk, rfk, i have only read about these things. 1986 i remember the great classic talking about the
commies and how blowing them up was a good idea. proud to grow up one day just like his father, a drill sergeant with the habit of hitting his mother. all i knew was not a this seemed like a good idea. 1991 through seventh grade was the first peace protest i ever saw. girls wrote make love not war on poster board. the conflict we were told hardly outlasted our demonstration. i tied the yellow riband to remember the soldiers who went off to war. i did not any soldiers been. 1995 at 16 and 17 the high school hallways were filled with reservoirs working wonders, homosexuality always with that as a great weapon for and so. too shy to say what she meant or just like all of us. i knew that as much as i hated them some days that they could
be taken on the 18th birthdays. and what with the emptiness be like that filled their spaces? and how would they know why the emptiness had been made at all? 1997, in college i joined the army rotc. stop someone slips from turning blue. and class the sergeant laughed about the memory of the cuban cigars into during the invasion of panama, and everybody laughed. that was the day that i stopped ignoring that our targets were shaped like human scum the word chest, head, heart, brain were never used it for the crackpot talk about killing openly. it was a great thing, an unspoken thing. they toss military history, rifle marksmanship, mountain and. and advertisers how to live with killing a man. how to erase the memory of his blood starburst on his body when the guns kicked back in your hands.
i did know then that so many kids learned it so much sooner before they take their acds or sats. before they go to prom, they walked past the dead bodies on the way home from school. learn to recognize the arrangement of police cars around an intersection. they have become poets to write all of the eulogies necessary because these are the deaths that we are taught or are important to gather all the time especially during those beautiful summer days. everywhere in the city when neighborhood politics can do like the weather, we don't cold war because we like to say that racism has been laid to rest, wrapped in gauze and medical tape. babies still die in cook county hospital not knowing why. 2001 i was grading my hair in a hotel room when two planes exploded into the sides of two skyscrapers. we did know what was happening. we call downtown and they told us to still be there by 10. we did know what was happening. and actually told us there were
fires in the white house and pentagon. we did know what was happening. the train stopped and smoke started seeping in. we did know what was happening. every jerk of the train was hoping to hear at the same time. we did know what was happening. people started crying, yelling. we did know what was happening. when the train pulled up to the train platform we did know what was happening. walking up the staircase, i had never been so happy to see sunshine in my life. and the sunshine we thought a bomb had dropped. everything covered in ash. the masks over workers faces. go north, keep walking. we didn't know what was happening. 2011, i am annoyed at americans all of the time. activists ask us to come together and forget why we aren't so often a part. starbucks addicts, people who
like khaki and sensible haircuts, political cowboys riding out anger and entirely. young folks who keep listening to earn discipline or money. bridge builders in an effort to narrow the gap. my friends, my family, my lovers, myself. we let our lives slip back into what it was like before. making our convictions seem trendy. yesterday i went to go study happy people over at navy pier or they don't go to rallies or conferences. they don't talk about war. they wait for a sunny day and they go to navy pier. they smile. they hold each other close. they eat ice cream. they pay too much money for. they take advantage of the opportunity to love. they are lucky. and everyone in this world should be as lucky.
never, nowhere, anywhere. this is why no war. [applause] >> see if i can squeeze in one last poem for you guys. this piece i just wrote for my friend sarah who it said to me a little while ago, in my 20s i think i was most captivated by genius. in my third i realized how rare authentic times is. so i dedicate this to anyone who is a workaholic are a perfectionist, which i'm sure in this room there are many. but this piece is just called kindness over genius. i've got to agree with sarah. in my 20s i thought genius was the hotness. they taught himself how to play 20 different estimates, combination lawyer, er doctor and clinical social worker. a novelist who writes for 10 hours a day, goes to sleep for
two, gets up on rights for another 10. now, genius bores me. the tedium of the workaholic, the blistering erections of human achievement, all the while the geniuses lives crumble around him or her. the phone goes silent. birthdays and holidays go missed. vacations never get taken. genius doesn't believe in these sorts of frivolous things. i know because i had been a suffer of genius, not to say that i am one but i nearly died in its pursuit, sacrifice something that's not sleeping. explode an atomic cloud around me. family-owned energy outpacing the overrunning my foot. genius doesn't have time for feelings or social skills or farmville on facebook or guitar hero marathons or dates on rainy afternoons on knowing what one's
loved one is crying about. when the crying eventually does come, genius and so often absent. swinging around in his own genius world, brought tea than the thick skull blown through the jungle not caring who he or she crushes to live like this. is not extraordinary. not when compared to the open hand that on monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday, stays here. no flinching. no quaking. no fears. not extraordinary when compared to the open hand that stays here through blizzards, bonnie springs, scorching summers. not extraordinary when compared to the open hand that stays here and isn't worried about whatever hands can think it is doing right now. or if it really is recognized and valued by the entire world
of what it is as a hand. not extraordinary when compared to the open hand that stays here and extends fingers and wrist rooted in a whole person, the one who is right here. right in front of me. not racing and to seek out the next innovation. the next solution. the next trend. not extraordinary when compared to the open hand that stays here and remains, i'm afraid to be kind in the midst of so much genius. thank you all so much for being an amazing audience. and have a great conference. [applause] >> i will see you around. thank you. >> blackie.
high, yellow. burnt toast. she thinks i think i am better than her because i am light skinned. she looks all right, you know, for a dark skinned girl. he is too dark, too black. i want a guy with light skin and good here -- hair. these are some of the comments i have been hearing conducting my research in 2010 and 2011. good morning, everyone. my name is kiara lee and i'm here to talk about color is him. color was and is discrimination usually within an ethnic group where one side is based on the shade of his or her skin. colorism here in the u.s. begins during slavery with how slaves
and field slaves and continued on into the 20th century. in the 20th century the brown paper bag test was used to determine privileges for people of color. those darker than this bag couldn't attend certain schools, organizations, churches and other social settings. those darker than this bag just were not good enough. now, although this test has been put to rest, a isn't socially acceptable or politically correct, the power of this bag remains a driving force. we need to do better. [applause]
>> in our own country, light skinned latinas make on average $5000 more per year and dark skinned latinos. in our own country, asian americans are using dangerous skin whitening cream with slogans like get 99% wider better. we can do better. i know we can do better. in 1939, doctor kenneth clarke conducted a test. this test measures how children conceptualize race, duty and self-esteem. i replicated this test with honorable students in my documentary titled light skinned, dark skinned or in between. self-esteem, self-worth, which one is ugly? that when. this one could?
okay. which it all looks like you? and i am sitting thinking to myself, you mean to tell me the same doll that you just said is bad and is ugly, it's a dog you think looks like you? self-esteem, self-worth, we've got to do better. look at the people around you. there are some people in this room today right now who may have been teased or bullied as a child, or even rejected by eight. group because of their looks. others may have been discriminate against within their own family circle, yeah, that's right their own brothers, sisters, fathers, their own
mother. imagine that. how many rugs do we need to sweep that one under? but i, i have hope. i, i am inspired. i am inspired by the little girl who is choosing the doll that has no physical resemblance to her, and the good doll, a nice doll, the pretty doll. i am inspired by the little boy who is choosing the doll that looks nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing like him. but nevertheless, he thinks that's the good doll. i am inspired in my travels by the faces of the children when they light up at the new notion that no matter how light or how dark they may be, that they, too, are good. that they, too, are nice.
that day, too, are beautiful. [applause] >> this is the united states of america. this is a great nation. what are we going to do? what are you going to do? by name is kiara lee. thank you. [applause] >> campus progress. which is also an offshoot of said a farmer can progress funded by george soros. ♪ ♪
>> we need to make sure young americans know these things out there and that's what it is so important that you are holding hearings like this and groups like campus progress are getting the word out. and ♪ ♪ ♪ >> campus progress ♪ ♪ ♪ >> a group called the center for american progress believes using justin bieber in a marketing will help get out the vote. >> the mere mention of the name coupled with the view of the singer has electrified their voter campaign. >> young voters are not interested in taking our country back but moving our country forward.
voting is a way to do that. >> america cannot afford another subprime debt crisis. that's why consumer groups want to curb the worst abuses of for-profit colleges. >> campus progress. ♪ ♪ >> it looks like these for-profit colleges are really ripping off the taxpayer. what's going on your? >> they are ripping off the taxpayer but even worse, you are ripping off students and ruining their lives. ♪ ♪ >> we now live in a society that restricts young children and students from attaining higher education based solely on their status. ♪ ♪
>> in every single town that we went to, from miami all the way to washington, d.c., we met somebody who didn't have papers. >> we went to the board of trustees and held a protest. we were able to accomplish allowing undocumented immigran immigrants, which is the first time thing since september 11. >> campus progress. ♪ ♪ >> the bill i signed last week, with this bill another step we pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking a meaningful reform in our higher education system. >> after seven years of trying we have the vote to pass health
care for the united states. he leaned over and said the most true thing, which was i told you so. >> campus progress ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] [applause] >> good morning. my name is david halpern.ç i'm the director of campus progress and i really want to welcome all of you here today. we have over 12 and, maybe 1400 young people from all over the country. i want to say, i want to thank kelly and kiara, they did a great job so can we give them a hand one more time. [applause] >> also make really loud noise if you are live on tv right now. [cheers and applause]
>> you want to show them that you mean business here today. i want you to feel free to visit our gender-neutral restrooms today. which we hereby dedicate. to rush limbaugh and representative michele bachmann. [cheers and applause] >> now, they are not here today, but let me tell you is because we have a great program. first of all, secretary for health and human services kathleen sebelius will be here. [applause] >> congressman keith ellison is back in the conference this year. [applause] >> we have gene sperling and amy goodman. [applause] >> van jones is back in the conference. i think somewhere around my boss john podesta might be here. and we have the 42nd president of the united states bill clinton. [cheers and applause]
>> don't you dare sneak out to visit during the breakout session. we have represented gwen moore, cecile richards ahead of planned parenthood. and a whole lot more. why are they all your? not because of the money because we can't afford to pay them a dime. not because they do have other educations because they'll be. they had because they know that and people are essential to making progressive change for reality. put another way, for the seventh year in a row of this conference most important person here is you. now, it sounds corny. i don't care. it's true. because you're the person who can leave your and make a difference. by finding the truth, by speaking the truth, to powerful interest, and by turning truth into power for your generation. many of you know the concept of the truth of power. it comes from the quaker tradition but progressives have
used it many times in many places. speaking truth is a noble thing. but in 20 oh 11 in the united states of america it is not enough. it's time for people who possess the truth to also have the power. you young people, you know the truth. for example, just for example, you know the truth is we can't effectively address the deficit and put the country back to work and less the riches people once again pay their fair share of taxes. just can't be done. [applause] >> a another truth is that our economy and our security will be stronger, not weaker, if we pass the dream act. if we do -- [cheers and applause] >> thank you. if we do the right thing for young immigrants who did nothing wrong and what the same american dream as the rest of us. the truth is that only bigotry,
only bigotry stand it away a full equality for people to identify themselves why the letters lgbtq. [applause] >> two q. i a dash that we can haggle over the other letters in the breakout session layer. the facts is on your site. justice is on your side. it's to take these compelling truths and turn them into progressive victories and sustained influence. turning truth to power that's what we want to talk to you about today. i particularly want to talk of how we can count of one kind of power that's the power of business corporations. i love capitalism. so my best friends are capitalists. capitalism creates jobs and and spurs innovation and makes pizza, ipods, all the things we love. but something has gone wrong with the way many large business corporations behave here in washington, d.c.. simply put they lobby for
positions that are not warranted by the fact or by our values. they spend millions on advertising and campaign contributions to get outcomes that rip off taxpayers, consumers and workers that on the economy and our future. in a few minutes you had a great panel about the supreme court citizens united decision and other developments that increase corporate influence over politics. we have seen influence on issue of global warming and clean energy. we can see before our eyes the violence that extreme weather and climate change are causing. we see communities destroyed by publish in, toxic pollution. the big oil and energy companies lobby to prevent reforms. young people can see the possibility of a clean energy future, and you need to fight for it. campus progress -- yeah. campus progress and our partners have seen another example this year of cynical power. for-profit colleges. there's overwhelming evidence
that the schools are abusing taxpayer money with high price, low quality programs that lead many students deep in debt, their lives nearly ruined. for-profit colleges have about 10% of the college students, 25% of federal financial aid, and almost half of the loan defaults in this country. their reckless behavior risks a new subprime debt crisis, yet corporations that run these schools have spent millions trying to avoid accountability. it's disturbing to see who is lobbying for the special interests and their indefensible decision figure find some of them call themselves progressive and have worked for progressive administrations and causes but now they use their skills in connection to advance positions that are anything but progressive. i think that is a shame. a 22 year-old once wrote i used to be disgusted, now i try to be amused. it's more than okay to use humor to deal with your outrage, to cope with the cynical lies that
we hear so often. but don't lose that outrage. put it to good use. you need to fight against the so-called voter id log. it is to prevent fraud but the truth is there's almost most no cases of voter impersonation. you're more likely to be struck by lightning than be struck by someone trying to vote pretending they're somebody else. these laws to make it harder for young people, people of color, low income people, the disabled and older americans to vote. it's voter suppression plain and simple. campus progress expose the fact that these voter id laws had the origin added our session here in washington called the american legislative sustained council which is a fully with big business interests like exxon mobil and the coke brothers. they see their mission is to go limited government, free market and individual liberty. but how? how does making it harder for people to vote promote liberty? john adams said facts are
stubborn things. the facts persist and the truth process, but you will have to fight in build real power if the truth is to prevail. the people with the truth can get the power. in recent decades in the world what seemed like miracles. nelson mandela in south africa, the czech republic, they were not prisoners for dissidents anymore. they would the presence of their country. but really miracles had nothing to do with it. real people risk their lives and gave their lives to turn truth to power. and they're doing it right now again in the middle east. i hope -- [applause] >> i hope you will work with campus progress and our partners in a fight for progressive change. joined with us, look for the for local activism and journalism project.
please visit campus project.org to learn more. enough about us. this conference again is about you. many of you are well on your way to careers, to adventure goals to make connections. for others who are new to this world i can say honestly and seven years of doing this this event can put people on the path to their lives work. a member of our staff left last year to attend graduate school in california e-mailed me pictures in a coffee shop and talked of a woman wearing a campus progress future. she told her story. she came from a family of 12 and three of her older siblings work in a sweatshop to support of them. she enrolled at uc berkeley site, the first in her family to attend college. she never considered herself an activist into one of her siblings lost an arm in a sweatshop and was released from work without any compensation and told never to return.
that was her sophomore year in college and he got involved at school. one of the members of this group mentioned this conference and encouraged everybody to go. she had never left california and had never been on an airplane but she was determined to get. so she got an extra job, save the money and headed to the 2007 campus progress conference. she said it literally came dashing change my, that she met other young people involved in sweatshops and attended a panel of labor and gain more confidence to gain and take action. she is focused on child labor issues. i remember well meeting that group. many immigrants are the children of immigrants. there are so me stories like this. people overcoming obstacles and working to improve all our lives, especially by the people who need help the most that i know many of you aspire to careers like that. you are the people who should have the power. i'm really glad to hear. welcome again to the conference, and thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome angela peoples, leaf on, rob weissman and david corn. [applause] >> good morning. [cheers and applause] >> one more time. good morning. [cheers and applause] >> my name is angela peoples and on the policy manager at campus progress. forget started, i must say you all look fabulous. you're welcome. so as david mentioned the theme of this conference is turning truth to power. and that idea and the need for that is no more important part evident in some of the issues that we hear so much about and we're fighting for today. when we look at issues like wealthy people paying more other taxes so we can have increased
pell grants, and those kinds of issues are so popular, but we see time and time again on our side we are disappointed we look at our leaders, our politicians and they take stances and they vote against issues that directly affect the communities that they're supposed to be representing. and sometimes why? how could they do this? how could they be voting directly against their constituents? the answer i'm sure you won't be surprise is not revolutionary and it's not something that is new. has a lot to do with money. money and politics again it's not a new thing, but the supreme court decision in citizens -- i'm sorry, citizens united versus the federal election commission really open the funding for corporations to spend millions of dollars on all kinds of astroturf campaigns, high-priced lobbyist, to really influence policy and politics and to boost their bottom line.
so today we're going to talk about this and what role corporate lobbyists are playing in our policy process and how we as young people can't affect and be a part of addressing this issue. so today i'm joined by three panels. we have lee fang was a researcher with the think progress. you may have seen his work covering the attacks on public workers in wisconsin budget battle. we are also joined by rob weissman as the president of public citizen. public citizen is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that all citizens have a voice in the halls of africa were also joined by david corn who is the "mother jones" washington bureau chief. and to 2007 he was washington editor of the nation and he's also written for the "washington post," "new york times," los angeles times, and is author of several is selling books. let's give our panelists a hand. [applause]
>> so robert, can you tell us, give us some background on the citizen united decision and impact that it is had on a political system. >> i will try to do that in two minutes. let me answer with a question for us. how many of you know what the citizens united case is? how many of you know what brown v. board of education is? citizens united is the anti-brown v. board of education of our time. brown was about expanding our democracy and living on the american promise. citizens united is the opposite, bubut in geneva corporate takeover, and undermined the ability of real life breathing human beings to influence decisions. and 2010 the supreme court held in citizens united the federal election commission by a 5-4 majority of corporations have the exact same political speech rights as real live breathing human beings. so first amendment core right of
american democracy and tended to protect expressive interests of people, flesh and blood people, some of us were spies, jackets, pants usually. also extended now the corporations. so what does that mean? it means corporations can spend whatever they want to influence election outcomes. there are still restrictions in place about giving contribution directly to a candidate if you're a corporation, but they can spend whatever amount they choose. how to get a hold of what that means? think about this. into 2008 election cycle, the amount that was bit by president obama, john mccain, everyone who ran for congress was rent $5 billion. in 2007-2008. exxonmobil made $40 billion. so if exxonmobil chooses, it has to go to completely overwhelm the clinical process. they are not going to spend $40 billion but they will start
spending more and more. in appointing election, really shortly after the supreme court decision, outside groups which were enabled by the citizens united case is in for all of us outside carbamide and my from deep-pocketed individuals, often if they chose without even disclosing where the money came from. these outside groups spent $300 million. they support in the race of that changed hands in congress, they support the winners in about 70 out of 84 cases. so they exert a decisive influence in the 20 in elections but it was just the beginning of what's going to have you ever agreed it will be far, far worse in 2012. what are the consequences? the consequences our candidates have less control of the electoral process. outside groups now have much more and will increasingly have more. progression candidates have to be willing to go up against basically endless spending potentially. a lot of people choose not to run in the first place because
why bother? candidates were in office will know that if they vote the wrong way against a particular corporate interest they face a huge dump of money in the subsequent election. with surveyed staffers and saying we're worried about that and we're not going to do the same thing. our member will not take on the heart issue because we're worried about the next election cycle. because this was a decision that was held under the first amendment, a constitutional decision, a couple things open the. it's state and local government. it will be a much worse problem over time. 6-under thousand dollars recently spam by oil interests in a city council race in oakland city to paid. house at all interested $600,000. the other thing is we can do a lot of things, legislatively to diminish the impact of decisions but we can't undo the the decision of us the supreme court changes its mind.
very unlikely in the foreseeable future. are we adopt a constitutional a minute to overturn the decision. since that is the only choice that's exactly what we have to do. >> how does it work, david? i'm a corporation, you're a politician did i give you a check, or -- >> i say thank you very much. >> does it really happened that way or other sort of other steps that come into place because we called it institutional corruption. because it's legal and it comes about through institutional mechanisms. in the old days they used to give cash in brown paper bag's. and often they would give to a particular vote, particular decision. and the thing you have to keep in mind is that the court here is the dilemma. the dilemma is that people who have strong interest in a regulatory matter, in a tax
issue, are highly motivated to do whatever they can to win. if you're a corporation it can mean millions, tens of millions, perhaps billions of dollars to you. if you're a consumer out there or citizen working two jobs a week you may be not going at all and struggling to get by, you may be out five bucks, 10 bucks out of this in terms of lost taxes, are losing some government services. but it truly doesn't mean, that one decision doesn't mean as much to you. so the other side is highly motivated. so what they do is they find members of congress and candidates who are generally going to be sympathetic with them. it's not always i will take the money and, therefore, vote this which is so i can keep my own career going. there are some decisions like that, but often they are funny people are ideologically, policy wise, sympathetic with them. so you don't have to make it a bright. you don't have said you're going
to do this otherwise, for the reason of money when you otherwise wouldn't do this. and also going back to my first point, a lot of these candidates once they get in office know that they're being watched watched more closely by the special interest who have a sharp interest in the matter than they are by the general public. because people look at them for some big boats, big on health care reform or some other big matters, on what to do about epa regulation over osha regulations, what to do about offshore drilling. a lot of this stuff comes and go so quickly that they don't hear the other side, they don't feel pressure from the other side. and they do have to raise money, and they live within this system where every day they are going out, doing fundraisers, lobbyists are at the fundraisers giving them money. these are the people they talk to, they listen to. it's almost an and ecological
problem as much as one of laws and legal decisions. so it's really, the key take away here is for anything to change for there to be a constitutional amendment, any laws passed or even a cultural shift that will cause of candidates to be less able to take money. there has to be a shift in outlook sentiment. you have to be -- you can't stop it all. it has to be kind of shameful. if an umpire left a baseball game and then there was a story the next day saying that they had taken money from one side, from one set of players, if he was wrong or not, legally people would say we don't want him coming back again. we think this is not fair. this is not america. and so have a sort of a public shift in attitude, people say we've got to pay more attention and look at the cultural way this works, is going, you know,
is necessary to get the political change. or also in of itself it will produce some element of change. >> so the the challenge is there's a small group of special interests that have a lot of time, resources to repay attention and to stay on the elected officials, and the average person doesn't have all of that time or resources to really be engaged in that. so sometimes the disconnect is there. >> is completely asymmetrical warfare. the chamber of commerce is highly motivated to stop climate change legislation. because it could, maybe, maybe not raise the cause to some other industry. but the benefits will be three, four, five to one. president clinton will be able to talk about that when he comes on. so they're at it every day. the rest of us are saying yeah, climate change, rising oceans, i care about that. but at the same time no one is
paying me to work on this. i have always other things to do in terms of just to get by each day. so this is really a symmetry. it's at the heart of a lot of these issues that you will be talking about in the congress. >> some of the interesting things in wisconsin and lee, he did a lot of research and reporting on this, there was a lot of, when the public workers and teachers were protesting governor walker's budget that cut collective bargaining benefits, there was a lot of response from the other side, which seem to be sort of astroturf grassroots organizing. can you talk about that? >> sure. you know, dick about this huge -- think about the huge lobbing structure in d.c., ignore what you learned in school and ignore what the report and the media that's what lobbing is because what most reporters and but most professors will tell you is
about to disclose direct lobbying that has to be catalogued by the senate or direct contributions candidates. that's only the tip of the iceberg. the entire city is awash in money because he different organizations as indirect lobbying. some of it goes to citizens groups like astroturf organizations that went to wisconsin and organized counter protests of the protest against governor walker, and it came out that walker's biggest paper manufacturing, the cobras, some of his other manufacturing allies had funded this group americans for prosperity to fund and orchestrate this grassroots support of governor walker. but think about the bigger picture, the direct lobbying dollars if you see report in the news are only a small part of the picture.
for example, in health reform, there was a big study that was released i think in august of 2009% health insurance comes with an almost $100,000 or over $1000 a day in direct lobbying and candidate contributions. that seem like a big eye-popping number but is really just a small part of the problem. but the health insurance companies did was that they spread their money all over the city and in astroturf organizations all over the country. if you go to metro center, there's a macy's there. about the macy's is a firm called after. look at their disclose lobbying registration. in fact the health care companies given millions of dollars that engineer talking points like death panels and ration boards and all this other come all his other hide veggies coming from the right. what apco did was take those
talking points to get into fox news and bloggers, to get into different republican candidates. health insurance covers also cut a check for almost $80 million to chamber of commerce to run an attack at. no one knew, none of journalists reporting on health reform debate noted that these big business front groups quote unquote ideological organizations were really just funded and/or toshiba health insurance companies to create a groundswell of opposition health reform. but again none of it was disclose, none of it was reported and that it was traditional lobbying that you see in your political science textbooks or in the media. >> the thing is listening to lead here, the reason they do this, too, is not so much to persuade members of congress, which is the typical way we think of lobbing. it's to win the political
cultural battles out there. it's to sort of put virus into the media bloodstream. death panels, bad unions, whatever it might be. and they don't have to win these fights. they are playing, they can win to a draw. if they can make wisconsin protests, you know, seem almost union thugs and they get the public does not engage but watching to sort of say well, there may be two sides to it. maybe there are two sides of global warming. that's all they have to do. they don't have to convince you it's not happen. they just have to convince you there's a question. if there's a question there, why should we raise taxes? so that's what this was all about and that's what you guys kind of play into this. because those are the big battles that have to be one. you have to win these contextual battles which is very good for your neighbors. heart and mind. that's where organizing comes in across the whole front of things because we are talking about
billions of dollars here. which the groups on the other side usually can't match. so whether it is to wisconsin uprisings or smart organizing, it's about winning the conceptual battle. >> real quickly to know, part of this lobbing infrastructure that impacts you, or students like you, we helped break the story earlier this year that at florida state university and west virginia university, and a couple of schools across the country, trains et cetera ideological company that spread its money, as he faces is lobbying campaign. they were funding and higher economics departments at universities, and when universities took that money, they signed waiver saying they would let koch brothers lobbying office which is used with its foundation in arlington to elect professor, select which studies would be written, basically micromanaged the entire
scholarship program, and the type of research they did from their lobbying office. and then when these types of professors or students come out with papers, then they're taking to washington, d.c., and cited enforcement lobbying for the regulation of lobbing against climate change picture there's a vicious cycle. even your campuses are involved. >> there's a role that we're all playing at our universities that we don't even know in terms of the work that we are doing, our homework and research papers. real interesting. robert, i mean, hearing about all of the 89 and the $100,000 a day being chump change, pretty daunting things to think about, particularly as folks who write or do sort of grassroots activism, what role can we play, how do we counteract those voices be? get educated about it and let me do a shout out. if you want to get some
background information, one thing you can do is google david corn and read what is written in the last 20 plus years. you are getting quite an education. or you can go to the think progress blogger i've got to say that lee and his team our breaking news at a rate that is outrageous compared to the mainstream the. you have a small group of folks are pounding away and breaking stuff like once a week and it's awesome. [cheers and applause] >> so i agree with everything that's been said that one thing. this cultural shift. one thing that citizens united decision did is it enacted a cultural shift, not in the public item in the class. and a deep pocket campaign given us. and it sent a message to them that the old rules of restraint, and as bad as things were, there were self-imposed restraint by the deep pockets and corporation, those old rules no longer apply. we're seeing them further away more and more. so there's a real cultural movement going on among the corporate class.
the one thing i disagreed with what david said is i don't think that covert pashtun public sentiment. you guys all get this. you get 90% of people who think the big business has too much power in washington, d.c., in polls. 90% is this awesome number. 80% saying that the earth revolves around the sun. think about it, right? 90% is amazing that 70% of tea party self-identify tea party people think it is in judges said was wrong. so people want change. what we don't have is we don't have people as they wait did was think of we don't have people mobilized. they are not acting together because all we have against all this money as all of our collective people power. if you're passionate about climate change or you want to save water, you want to say food you're worried about workers safety, you want to avoid another wall street collapse, you are worried about jobs issues come you a fair education
system do you want to bring down these outrageous for-profit colleges, you've also got to do some work on the issue of campaign finance and overturn the citizens united decision. what i've learned, this is my first campus progress conference but what i've learned in my 90 mr. whatever, is that campus progress is a call to response to what want you to do is we create a website, democracy is for people. it's a radical notion. democracy is for people, not for corporations to go there, sign up and will get you engage and tell you what you can do. doing as much as you want to do to work on a constitutional amendment and a whole bunch of other things. but since it is such a radical notion and i know this is a really radical audience, let's see if we can get you so you don't ever forget this, democracy is for people. if i can get you to chant for a couple of times. okay? democracy is for people. democracy is for people. >> democracy is for people. >> democracy is for people.
>> now if you go out and you chant that and you tell that to people in the street we will build a movement. [applause] >> so we'll have a few moments left, but one thing, and i want to ask you about what you think what we have in store for the 20 does that was what i think is interesting and important remember, when we talk about sort of the cultural shifts. i think a lot of times when we heard death panels are a lot of the rhetoric that happens around climate change, even when i talk to my family and friends at home back in michigan, it can be daunting. it sounds like things they might agree with whatever they're doing, and a lot of it is because there's so much misinformation out there. it is our job to educate ourselves and also to educate our family and her friends are people we care about on a lot of misinformation that is out of. ilogistics so it out to you all,
anybody can jump in here, but what do you think is in store for us for the torrent of election, with the citizens united and with all the presidential candidates talking about the millions of animals billions of dollars they are raising? >> it's already here. i mean, robert talked a little bit in the run up to 2010. that was like really early preseason. angela peoples like tom perriello, a congressman from virginia who supported health care reform, cap-and-trade. he came from a republican kind of conservative district, and from the moment he got into office really after 2008, he won by just a couple hundred votes, there were these ads against him by citizens for better health care saying that he was destroying the health care system and they were relentless. it went on for two years and he ended up losing as with many democrats who lost in november.
it was really sort of a warm-up and you see people like karl rove who is advising these independent pacs who are now, you can we not used to wait until election year but they're running ads against democrats now. and then the democrats are responding. bill burton who used to work in the white house, deputy secretary has started running ads against republicans. is just going to continue to go on. president obama says he would rather not see if i think he does want to see the democrats at a disadvantage. so by the time the ice we get to november 2012, there will be tens of billions of dollars a special interest money flowing into the system. and in some ways, i think even republican and democratic candidates alike upset because it may consume them. they may lose control. this is one of the fears people have is that the actual candidates will lose total control of their own races.
the messages will be dictated by people coming with these these big ad campaigns. they will pick key races, tc, key committee chairmen. and we can put one or $2 million in common and totally blow them out of the water. that is going to happen. may have an impact on the presidential race, but really it's in these congressional and senate seats that are going to be totally up for grabs. i think the koch brothers and others are really just drooling here. they will have so much more influence. and already as robert graves study has shown, members, democratic members and others are making decisions, calculating do i want, how much of a target do i want to be next time out? so we will see a big impact. >> it's going to be important, sounds like you'll be a lot of news and ads. >> outside of ads, number one i think that obama will be
outspent. but another -- these outside groups, all these independent expenditure campaigns, but what will be on tv and what the media will not report is that citizens united, part of the decision opened the door to something else other than unleaded corporate spending on ads and that sort of thing. it opened the door for corporations to coerce and manipulate their employees, their customers, the vendors, contractors, their subcontractors to support candidates that the business picks. and this was in a confidential memo circulated last year among republicans, and was actually at a presentation which is one of the hidden benefits of citizens united at a secret retreat last year with a bunch of hedge fund managers and big money funds want to take out democrats last year. we saw in reporting to the last
two months from the nation an alternate that this was protested, some of the big manufacturers from the midwest, the koch brothers and a few other companies tested this out. they told and who to for. they had closed coercion sessions where they told employees the importance of free enterprise and the democrats were going to destroy the economy and destroy the country. this was just the beginning. the chamber of commerce is already working on this. they are membership includes all the biggest fortune 500 companies. so they will be manipulate and you when you buy things to go vote for a certain candidate and they will be manipulating you if you use possibly facebook and a lot of these other social network platforms. it will be subtle because this is the civil rights era -- civil rights struggle of our time as robert mentioned. but unlike the factory bosses bring in the pinkertons or in the civil rights struggle, having bull connor all over tv looming ugly and who would want to be on his side?
the corporate lobbyists have catch them, they can look beautiful. they know how to do the right words to talk to you. they know how to manipulate you. this is a much bigger, possibly more difficult struggle. and i would just leave it at that. >> i agree with all that but i predict also the rise of a counter citizens movement, that you all are going to join by logging on democracy for people.org. >> unfortnuately, that's all the time that we have for this discussion by want to thank all our panelists for being here. ..ñ
>> good morning. i am emily wood from arkansas. there are so many ways to interview this inspiring person. a la cite statistics about how he presided over the longest period of peacetime expansion in american history? [applause] >> or maybe how he left the presidency with the highest end of office approval rating since the end of world war ii? >> [applause] >> if i wanted to cite something more recent i could tell of his post white house philanthropic efforts that may real impact in the world community. while all of these are certainly
inspiring and each of them shape the america we live in, these alone are not what makes the president a hero. he was once a twentysomething scholarship dependent undergrad from the middle of arkansas too. i have a feeling he's of the world the same way we do. he grew up without that famous last name that so many people have positions of power. he came from the same background as so many of us. he is in many ways our man of the station of the american dream. >> i personally believe if the american people give you the honor of serving you should keep doing it when you leave office. and set up his foundation so i could pursue causes that i could still have an impact on have a private citizen. we go out and ask -- that is a rate of success.
are had a story and it was a heck of a story. i want every child in the world to have a story. it is a result oriented foundation committed to taking on the world's biggest challenges. we can save the planet for our children and grandchildren and do it in a way that will give us more economic opportunity. with this foundation i can do things quite important that governments normally don't do. >> former president clinton is joining the war on aids. >> these projects will transform community but collectively they can change the world. >> president clinton created a forum where we can share our ideas and innovation. >> this initiative is in the houses. regardless what you do, how are you going to do it? ♪ >> tsunami relief from president bush and former president bill clinton in the fund-raising effort. >> my wife has been a balanced between if fulfiling initiative
always wanted and things that come up. don't tell me they can't do this. this is an opportunity to read imagine a future for the haitian people to build the country they want to become instead of to rebuild what they used to be. i measure success by with her life is changed. >> california -- >> when we walked through the doors we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> what should our shared values be? every body counts. everybody deserves a chance. everyone has a responsibility to fulfil. we all do better when we work together. >> create a model for individual responsibility and collective action that all of us will be studying for a long time. >> i do it because i should do it. i like it better than anything else i could be doing. ♪ a [applause]
>> my fellow bright eyed twentysomethings please join me in welcoming the 40 second president of the united states of america, president william jefferson clinton. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. first i want to thank emily for the wonderful introduction and for sticking up for the progressive causes in our native state which probably went
further from democrat to republican in the 2010 election than any other state in america. i am very grateful for her commitment. i want to thank the wonderful head of the center for american progress, my former chief of staff jonathan bethesda and a director of campus progress, david halperin, who was am very able speechwriter and foreign policy when i was president. i sort of have to show up when they asked. but i am very glad to be here. i want to begin by something that was emphasized in the brief film. most of the time when i was in politics, people debated whether you going to do and how much money are you going to spend? there wasn't enough attention given to how are you going to do it so your good intentions
actually turn into real changes? if you don't think about that, you get in trouble. for example, i will come back to this in a minute. in the current budget debate there is all this discussion about how much will come from spending cuts and how much will come from tax increases, almost nobody is talking about one of the central points that everyone who has analyzed the situation makes including the bipartisan some symbols commission which said you shouldn't do any of this until the economy is clearly recovering because if you do things that damages economic growth and the u.k. is found in this out now. they adopted a state austerity budget. there is a good chance economic activity will go down so much
that tax revenues will be reduced even more than spending is cut and their deficit will increase. why aren't we talking more about the economy and less about this? part because the republicans who control the house and have a lot of votes in the senate have decided having quadrupled the debt -- double it after a left, all of a sudden the biggest problem in the world. i will come back to that. of want you to think about it because i hate these deficits. i was appalled when the debt was doubled in eight years after i left office and i think the fiscal condition of the country did make us weaker in dealing with the financial crash. i will say more about that in a minute. but you have to know about what works. there's almost no discussion in this debate. i read the articles every day
about the timing of whatever it is they do and whether it will work or not. when i left the white house and started this foundation decade ago, i decided to focus on that. i wanted to work on things i cared about when i was president where i could still have an impact. it seemed to me that i was in a position to try to involved people in answering these questions. for example, first thing i did was established at the university of arkansas, cited in my presidential library, a graduate school which would offer america's first public policy in public service. students spend half their time in the field, in america and all over the world trying to
actually figure out how to solve a particular problem or to seize a particular opportunity. and i got involved in this aids work because when i left office there was relatively small amount of money being spent in the global fight against aids. the united states, the last budget i left i think was for $300 million a year and that was 25% of everything being spent in the world. but we organized the global fund on malaria and was established and president bush came in and pass the kevlar program which was the finest achievement which allocated billions of dollars to the fight against aids and later malaria. we didn't have a lot of money. when i started there were only
200,000 people in poor countries getting medicine necessary to live. something we had come to take for granted in america. two thirds of those people were in brazil which was a rising economy where the government paid for the medicine and they have their own pharmaceutical industry. we were paying an we do pay $100,000 a year to keep people alive with standard aids treatment. that is what the medicine given out in my neighborhood clinic in harlem costs. the generic medicine was $500 a year. it sounds cheaper but in countries with an income of less than $1 a day and infection rate of 10% or higher it was prohibitively expensive. so basically when i looked at it and i got some good people to help me, the aids medicine business, i want you to think about all the things you are
concerned about today, even $500 a person a year was a high profit margin, low-volume, and certain payment system. so i went to canada, ireland and a number of other donors and said i want you to promise to fund these programs. don't give me the money, just give me the right to greenlight the money if i can get a lot of this medicine discounted. then we went to the producers of the medicine and said we want you to change your business model from low volume to high volume, from high-margin to low-margin. from an uncertain payment to a certain payment business. we will help you review the manufacturing process and work on your supply chain and give you the money promptly. we cut it from $500 to $140. [applause]
>> the children's medicine we cut from 6600 to $190 and then, when we got some serious money in their we cut the price to the old regime which some people still use, weakened by for $90 in the children's medicine for $60. there is the one bill which is much easier to use which we now have under $200. from about $700. the point i want to make is this wasn't a republican or democratic deal. there was x amount of money, and a number of people who needed the medicine to stay alive. we are not where we need to be yet, but in 70 countries there are four billion people, half of all the people in poor countries, long way from 200,000 but half of the people in poor countries getting medicine off
of these contract including 75% of the children. the money made a big difference funded primarily by the french airline tax on overseas flights. funding children's medicine. i give you this only as an example. we apply the same theory to lower the causes of technologies when we got into climate change business and helping 40 cities around the world to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. by not only retrofitting buildings but changing the street lights and wherever possible in cities and developing world, closing landfill's which are huge in matters of methane gas and which really are gold mines if you think about it. all those urban landfills we have recyclable glass and plastic and metal and all the rest, the organic material can be turned into fertilizer and
for rest can be turned into electricity. we are trying to do the same thing. we have double, triple, even quadrupled in, of african farmers by lowering the cost of fertilizer and seed and working out a distribution network and saving them half their income by taking products to market. the point is i live in a world which is very different than the world are found in washington which was very different from the world by lived in when i was a governor. i remember i had a young man working for me in the white house who had been with me for ten years before my governorship and unmentioned something in the paper that was highly critical of me and asked this guy if he read it, what did you think of that piece? he said they are talking about somebody i am not familiar with.
the problem with a national political environment is it is so far removed from real people physically, and all the players are trying to get their light of the evening news or their headline, you tend to lose what really matters which is how it will affect us. and your future and people all around the world. so i think first, i want to say whether you like or dislike what is going on in the government it is really important that you spend a lot of time and attention trying to change the reality on the ground within whatever constraints public policy in closes. that is what we do with the clinton global initiative every year.
we bring in business people and philanthropists and government leaders and ngos. we fly people from the poorest countries in the world who are active on the ground doing things and we all get together and instead of giving speeches everybody have a conversation and makes a commitment. in the last six years those commitments have already improved the lives of three hundred million people in 1 80 countries just by asking people to do it. we have university students every year, university students as you know don't have a lot of money. very often they have the best ideas. last year two students at maria college, anybody here from there? it was established before the civil war in kentucky, 1855, a university then open to women which was a radical idea at the
time, and also available to african-americans and they have very low tuition. all the students work on campus but we to students decided they would go out into their neighborhood in eastern kentucky which was hilly and part of appellation with free energy audits. they were doing it. and we found out that they can actually save these poor people lot of money for almost no investment. another student at the university of california san diego realized there were huge numbers of students who weren't even aware of all the tax credits they were entitled to, some of which were passed when i was president. he calculated that if there was
100% knowledge -- i will come back to this in a minute. there was 100% knowledge of all the students at the university of california san diego of every form of student aid they could access they would say $2.5 million a year just on that campus. so i believe in all of this and i think you have to have -- you can't get discouraged when the politics are going in a direction you don't like. you have to keep fighting against the things you don't like but also find something to do that you do like. it is very important in life not just to be against something you oppose but also to make something good happen because every time you make something good happen it gives weight to your position on these political issues. that is why i think one of the most important bills i ever saw it was the one creating a
miracle, 700,000 plus young people have done work all over america. [applause] >> and they made a big difference. so that brings me down to this current moment. and your topic. a neat twist on the old speak truth power, turning truth to power. you cannot turn truth into power. unless you have it in the first place. beginning with basic facts. so for example, we have this current political drama in washington over the budget. what do you want america to look like in the twenty-first century
any way? the decisions you make on the budget should be informed by the life you want to live. when you are 30, 40, 50 what do you want america to be like? when you have children in these chairs what do you want it to be like? president obama has a vision of an economy that works for everybody, that is modern and sustainable and offers shared opportunities, a vision of government and society that involves shared responsibility, not specific benefits nearly as much as everybody pitching in and doing what they are supposed to do to create overent we need to have for restructure of opportunity and empowerment to take hold in america. and he has a vision of a
community that makes the most of america's greatest asset, our diversity. that is why he and i passionately believe in the dream act. i don't understand -- [applause] -- i think we are better off with more immigrants, not fewer. i don't understand all that but the main thing i want to say is why he believes in gay-rights and i was proud of my -- [applause] -- i was immensely proud of another of my former administration secretaries professing gay marriage. just because -- [cheers and applause] -- if you look at the story of america we have a lot of speeches on the fourth of
july of politics taking over, what america means and the intent of the framers and all that. the declaration of independence gave america a permanent mission. the framers pledged their lives and fortunes and sacred honor to form a more perfect union. that is 18th-century speak, and 20 first century slaying. that means we are not perfect and we will never be perfect but we can always do better. our job is to keep doing better, to keep moving in the right direction. in the words of martin luther king of the arc of history bends toward justice. our job is to make sure the arc bends in the right direction. when i was president itel people all the time to be forming a
more perfect union means widening of the circle of opportunity, deepening the meaning of freedom and strengthening the bonds of community. it requires all of us to keep growing and learning and embracing. several years ago a man named robert wright wrote a book called nonzero with big influence on me and the moral animal. he did not mean moral in the traditional sense. he meant socially ethical. that people wanted to be cooperative and needed to work together. nonzero central argument says that ever since the first people rose up on the african savanna approximately 150,000 years ago, there has been a constant need to read the fine who is us and who is them and the definition of us has gotten bigger and
bigger. that is the only thing that has kept humanity from destroying itself. and the only way you can make a bigger definition of us is to have competition and cooperation in a way that in game theory terms allows nonzero some games. that is what we americans lose, there has to be a winner and loser. i love march madness every year and i love the big east basketball tournament. a couple years ago two of our teams played six over times. they were not very competitive in the n.c.a.a. but we insisted they play till they drop. in my native state the university of arkansas was involved with kentucky a few years ago in of football game that went to six over times with
a score of 71-63. that is a nonzero some game. it is good to watch but not of good model for the way humanity works. we have to find a way to have enough competition to keep creativity alive. but we don't require their to be a lot of losers. what does that mean for where we are now? in contrast to the division the president laid out of shared prosperity and shared responsibility and deeply widening community, the current governing philosophy of the republicans in congress is that america would be just fine if we could weaken the government more. the government is the source of all of our problems.
there is no such thing as a good tax or a bad tax cut for a good regulation or bad deregulation. it is a waste of money and time. this idea that the government is the source of all of america's problems would strike the founding fathers as passing strange. but it has had a great hold on america since the election in 1980. so let's look at this. let's take a walk down memory lane. and realize you can't turn true to power and less people know. let's begin with something
recent. in the 2010 election the democrats took a terrible whipping. we were always going to lose a number of seats for two reasons. first, people only hired the democrats in the last 30 years when things were messed up. so they hired me in 92 and they hired president obama in 2008. and then they wanted us to fix them and in 1994 and in 2010 things didn't feel fixed. hard to fix things that were messed up over a long period of time but people did not feel fixed and we have a lot of what you might call soft seats. seat we picked up because of bad economic conditions in 2006, and 2008.
but the election results were more adverse to the democrats than they would have been, i believe, if voters had no basic facts. and so before we blame them, those of us who did know have to blame ourselves. the american people make rational decisions based on what they know. if they don't know, you can't turn truth into power if the ultimate holders of power, the citizens themselves, don't know the effect. for example, everybody knows the stimulus was the failure, except it wasn't. the hole blown in the economy was $3 trillion deep. the stimulus was $800 billion. even albert einstein couldn't fill a $3 trillion hole with
$800 billion. second, the stimulus was designed to put a floor in that whole and it worked. the stimulus money went to a tax cut to 95% of the american people. most americans voted on election day not knowing they received that tax cut. why? it was given in the most economically effective way by cutting the payroll tax by about $800 per family. and the republicans didn't consider it a tax cut since the top 5% didn't get theirs. i want you to laugh but it is serious. the most important thing in the world for me as someone who now makes money i never dreamed i would make is i got my five tax cuts under president bush. i made out like a bandit. i should have changed parties. but it didn't seem to me to
work. but the american people didn't know that. they didn't know that 30% of the money went to state and local governments to keep them from having to lay off a million teachers and police officers and health-care workers. now that the stimulus has played out you might be interested to know since the economy has not fully recovered that one of the things keeping unemployment high in america today is declining payrolls this year at the state and local government level of about a million. which will have among other things quite adverse impacts on our schools. only about 1/3 of that money, even less, was spent to create jobs. a lot of it in green energy and manufacturing. then there was the automobile restructuring which was not a bailout. so let's just look at what happened.
that people didn't know. as of last november, america's automobile industry was coming back. 70,000 more people working in the automobile industry and if they had been allowed to fail at least another million people out of work when you think of parts suppliers or people who run dealerships and all those things. more important, listen to this, when barack obama took office as president, united states had exactly 2% of the market. for these high-powered batteries that are necessary to run hydroelectric cars and all electric cars. because the democratic congress previously provided a tax credit after they won in 2007, took office in 2007 for new green manufacturing jobs and in 2009 it was turned into for a start
up the cash equivalent of a tax credit. that is you don't need a tax credit if you just started your business. no income to claim a credit so they wanted to accelerate growth of the new manufacturing facility so they said you can get the cash equivalent. on election day america had 20% of the world market. from 2 to 20 in less than two years. with 30 new factories built or under construction, 18 in michigan with the second highest unemployment rate in the country. but it was a secret to most voters. if you knew it and didn't tell people you were part of the problem. would it have reversed the aggregate results? no. it changed a lot of particular elections.
let's go to something that everybody -- the tea party said they hated the bailout. they all say we got organized for the bailout, waste of government money. there is a reason john mccain and barack obama then both senators voted for the bailout which was wildly unpopular and they don't want to do it. not because of wall street but because of main street. the biggest car dealership in the country stopped financing cars. about to get to the point you couldn't go to sears and to buy any compliance on credit. the financial system had to be saved. we don't want to go there again. most people didn't know this. they say we hades bailout. democrats passed the financial reform bill which gave the government power that over some transactions it did not have to stop at excessive leverage, stop companies from making too many investments they didn't have the
cash to cover. traditional banks would own $10 for every dollar in cash they had. when bear stearns failed it was leveraged at 34-1. lehman brothers about 30-1. now the government can stop that and is instructed to stop that. that is what is in the financial reform bill. and if somehow they get around this and fail again no more bailout. here's an orderly procedure for bankruptcies of management and shareholders have to eat the loss. the democrats have passed the bill which was designed to prevent future meltdowns and future bailouts and people were going in voting against them thinking they were the bailout party. then there was -- they cut medicare. remember that? that was the most interesting thing of all. republicans ran to the left of democrats on medicare until they
got in. what they did was to reduce the amount of increase given to certain medicare services particularly the medicare advantage program which was a private insurance managed program and used the money to close the doughnut hole and to add years to the life of the medicare trust fund but nobody knew it. now to your business. one of the most important bills the president signed and supported and secretary of education supported was the bill that radically reformed the student loan program. by making a national system out of what i was able only to make voluntary for schools when i was president and the bush administration didn't like it so nothing happened to it. the student loan program used to work like this -- students would
qualify for loans and get loans from banks, government would guarantee 90% of the loan. the new program works like this -- the government sets aside a reserve, loaned the money directed the school and the students so the interest rates are lower first. secondly, every student in america will now have the option of repaint their student loan as a small fixed percentage of their income for up to 20 years. this is huge. nobody ever has to drop out of college again because of the cost. nobody ever has to be afraid to take out another loan. when you get out of school if you want to take a couple years to do a public service related job, if you want to be a teacher or go into community service, your loan obligation will be determined by your job, not the
other way around. this is a massive thing and to boot it saves $60 billion in government subsidies to banks, $40 billion of which go into the next decade, upheld grant and work study program keeps up with inflation, the other 20 reduced the deficit by $20 billion. the republicans propose to repeal that. if they were honest about it, bankers want their money back. but at a time when america already in the last decade for the first time since world war ii dropped first to ninth as a percentage of young adults with four year college degrees a calamitous development. even though we are first in percentage of young people going to college what does that tell you about the impact of cost? they won seats in congress say not will make student loans more
expensive and harder to repay and bible increase the deficit. nobody knew. you cannot turn truth into power if you do not know. you got to do more to connect the dots. i remember all these things said about health reform called obamacare. this is terrible. it will cause private employers to drop coverage, even though most private employers would be better off under this law and small business get substantial subsidies to offer coverage. in 2010, in the election the insurance companies raised private insurance companies for profit, raised the premium through the roof and that we hate to do this, we are so sorry. we know the economy is in bad
shape but obamacare is so uncertain we have to build up a big reserve. no one pointed out even know it came out in the election finally they file financials for 2009 when there was no obamacare and the recession was at its depth, what happened in 2009, the for profit insurance companies profits increased in that horrible year 26%. they raise rates through the roof causing five million americans under the old system to lose their health care. three million went on state medicaid program which ballooned the deficit to the federal and state government, but nobody knew. you cannot turn truth into power if you don't have the facts and people don't connect the dots. i didn't think that health care reform bill was perfect and some changes needed to be made.
bipartisan vote cleaned up some of the small business requirements. but the real reason there was such a passionate desire to repeal that 1100 page bill is one line. which said from now on if you are in a big insurance company plan, $0.85 of every dollar goes to your health care, if you are -- give them a bigger margin. 80%. ask yourself whether you saw this. about three weeks ago i saw a small article in the paper which said america's largest insurance company and one of its best, at the --aetna filed with the insurance commissioner to lower health insurance rates 10% across-the-board. because of the 85% requirement.
in other words it is going to work and still nobody knows it. so we spent too much time majoring in the mind. i want you to serve. i want you to answer the house question and lobby for the things you clap for like a dream act. but this economy is fragile. we cannot go another decade continuing to fall into young people with college degrees. we need to implement the student loan program and 100% of the people have to know about it. you have to know. here is what i want to say about the budget debate and the government would mess up its -- all taxes are bad. there is not a single example today of a really successful wealthy country that does not have both a vibrant economy and strong effective government.
not one. not anywhere. this political and economic theory i saw one congress called it faith based, that the republicans have because i just believe this way and the evidence is irrelevant. it must be wrong. [applause] let's just look at the evidence. in 1980, we embraced this theory. government would mess up -- president reagan was good at making you laugh and he also was more ideological rhetoric we than practically. otherwise the debt would be even bigger than it is. they restored 40% of the money
that was given out in tax cuts in 1981. but we began to do something we had never done before as a country ever. we began to run large structural deficits in good times and bad. and you can say president reagan had a democratic congress. that is true. and there were democrats who voted for spending and tax cuts. it is also true that congress appropriated slightly less money than the administration asked for over eight years and it worked pretty well to generate a lot of jobs. in the beginning. because unlike president obama's program was a eight year loss. but it started to play out and produced almost no new jobs in president bush's term which is how i got elected. i don't mean that funny.
i am not just--- i like and admire and love him. he is a good man. when he said it was voodoo economics in 1980 he was right and had to pay the price. you can't run a structural deficit without paying the price. eventually interest rates got so high it created the economy and i could come in and balance the budget right away and cut the deficit because i knew it would lower interest rates and we would be off to the races. then i left off -- one of the things that was really helpful in all this was the rule called pay-as-you-go which the congress adopted and president bush signed before i got elected which said if you want to start a new program you have to stop something you are doing or come up with the money to pay for it. after i left office a lot of these same people who don't want to raise the debt ceiling what is the first thing they did? they left the pay-as-you-go
rules expire. they voted for eight years to raise the debt ceiling and double the debt of the country. how is it working? there are 12 years before and eight years after the time i served. how is it working? more jobs in those eight years than in 20 years combined. 1 hundred times as many people moved out of poverty in those eight years than in the 20 years combined. new business formation, every other indicator. the only surplus we had since 1969 is the first time we have four in a row in more than 70 years. this is not about whether you are fiscally conservative or not. it is about what works. this theory won't work. that is why the president has been resisting it. from world war ii to 1980, the
bottom 90% of us took on 60% of national income. the top 10% of us took home 35%. the top 1% or 9%. that was enough inequality to award hard work and good ideas. look how it has changed since 1980. under the alternative theory. the bottom 90% share of national income has dropped 65% to 52%. the top-10% has gone from 35% to 48% and the top 1% has gone to 22%. that happened for two reasons. one is the government is the problem. the other is something that happened outside government. i am so old i get my medicare this year. the last generation of people
that could have gotten an m.b.a. and you were discussing citizens united case before. when i was in law school and if i had been in business school we were taught that corporations were creations of the state. and in return for their privileges they had certain responsibilities and they had responsibilities to all their stakeholders, shareholders, employees and customers and communities of which they were a part. for 30 years of no incidents, the government is a problem pherae we have been told corporations's only responsibilities are to their shareholders. those two ideas together have produced a combustible and unsustainable amount of inequality in america and if you want to live in a country where people like emily, middle-class kids and people like you have a fair shot at the american dream we have to reexamine them both.
professor michael porter at harvard business school, latest in which republican i have known for many years has done great work developing the inner cities and has of cover story you can pull up on the internet and two additions back of the harvard business journal saying we have to change our notion of corporations exist for shareholders to corporations exist to advance shared value. there has to be a mission which involves sharing. and other nonzero some game. sum game. it is not true that government will mess up -- i will give you one example. medicare is the biggest driver of the federal deficit. medicare and medicaid. that is because health-care costs tripled in 12 years from
1981 to 1993. and tripled over the rate of inflation. we kept them in line with inflation and they tripled again. and that context, here's the problem which is giving everyone a voucher. medicare's a better value than the rest of health-care. since 1970 medicare cost per recipient gone up 400%. private insurance premiums have gone up 700%. the health care system is not competitive. we spent 17.2% of our income on health care. no other wealthy countries spent 10.5 of any size. that is canada. everyone else is between 9, and 10-1/2. it is because of the way we deliver and pay for health care, procedure instead of care and the way we administer it through our health insurance system which is $0.30 on the dollar
goes to paperwork. more than any other system in the world of $201 billion -- it is $1 trillion a year that could be invested in education and green technology and paying down the debt and all this other stuff. we cannot continue this. but i will give you an example of why the government has to pay a role in this and medicare costs can be brought in line with inflation only if health care costs are. we have known for a few years that thousands of people die every year at the cost of tens of billions of dollars from hospital acquired infections. many thousands of others have to come back to the hospital to get fixed again. the primary purpose is -- primary cause of this is lack of adequate rigorous sterilization procedures at every step along the hospital stay. atoga wondi, white house felony
and a brain surgeon who writes a lot on health care and wrote a manifesto, you ought to read it. he points out that if you put a nurse in charge of the doctors and everybody else is 4 or 5 critical junctures in the journey to a hospital you can take this inspection, the death rate in tens of billions of dollars out of the system. guess which hospital network was the very first in america to rigorously implement it? the va hospital. that is a government system. the government will mess up but nobody knows it. so i say this to encourage your activism but to say your activism has to include sharing what you know with your
generation. i can help thinking since we just celebrated the fourth of july and are supposed to be dedicated to liberty that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside washington today is the discipline, passionate, determined effort of republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. there has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other jim crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today. getting rid of same-day registration, some state getting rid of all advanced coating. the governor of florida proposed to revert his republican predecessor's signing of a bill that gave people the right to
vote when they got out of prison and finish their probation period even if they didn't have a pardon. one of the most important things to do. why should we disenfranchise people forever once they paid their price? most of them in florida where african-americans and hispanics and would tend to vote for democrats. that is why. why get rid of same-day registration? what has new hampshire made it impossible for college students who live in other states, in new hampshire most of the year to vote there? why is this going on? this is not rocket science. they are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate. constitutional right to vote, the need to empower and widen the circle of opportunity sounds good but if you lose your right to vote it doesn't amount to
much. you should be fighting it. i think there's a good chance -- unconstitutional because of the case in the 70s involving vanderbilt which give students the constitutional right to vote where they reside most of the year. but the larger point i want to make is this -- most of my life has nothing to do with anything. my life is my foundation and a global initiative and trying to get people involved in doing affirmative things. but in every place i work and i don't go into any country unless the government welcomes our foundation, i see what a difference a government makes. a good one or a bad one. a competent one or one lacking in capacity. in our country you have to both surge and be a good citizen. i think being a good citizen
requires service but also requires knowledge. if you are serious about turning true to power, remember this. it begins with knowing. it begins with snowing. there is too much we don't know and too much we know we don't share. you cannot blame citizens for mistakes they make for what they don't know. most people do not have the time or the space, emotional or financial or practical space that you have at this moment in your life to know. so make sure you know and make sure you share. thank you and good luck. god bless you. [cheers and applause]
there is a classical -- questions i am sure many of you have. we don't have time for q&a during this session. i will pretend i am you and ask my panel questions that are pretty common in figuring out how to make social change your full time job and career. as i mentioned to my immediate left, cote inventor and ceo of uncharted play and tell you a little of what they do. he is senior speech writer and communication adviser of office of the secretary of commerce. big impressive title. all the way on the end, last but not least, sustainable farmer, natasha bowlen. we will ask the most basic questions. what do you all do and how do you get there and i start with